PLYMOUTH – There are some things in life I miss. The fact is, we all do. Big and small. Great and even the insignificant. It is ingrained in our souls to long for people, places, possessions, and experiences of our past. These nostalgic desires are natural and pervasive throughout humanity. Yet, we all have different longings and for different things.
A recent study by Harvard University found that happiness and well-being have a strong correlation with deep relationships. No surprise there! We need each other.
At certain times I find myself thinking of and reminiscing about long past friends and family. It’s good for me and reminds me of how blessed my life has been.
Some days, when my thoughts wander and I begin to wonder, small and seemingly insignificant things in my past can instill a peace and calmness in my heart. Things like a gum eraser and the unmistakable scent it gives, takes me back to my earliest days of school at Kermit Elementary and the carefree and unencumbered life I lived. Fun, play, friends, and no pressing responsibilities. A longing wells up in me for those lost times.
Something else that I miss is the sound of a wooden screen door opening and closing, and its accompanying sounds produced by the long metal spring and the well-worn henges as they squeaked and banged about. Fresh watermelon in the summertime being eaten and the juices from its crimson flesh running down one’s face and arms as you try to take as much in as your immature mouth can hold. The deafening silence of a deep winter’s night after a fresh fallen snow with the only sound perceptible being the exhale of your breath and the crunch made by your boots as you imprint the new fallen blanket of white. The smell of a newborn baby and the purity of that perfect skin. Thunderstorms advancing across the desert sands and mesquite, foretelling its approach with rumbles of thunder, growing louder and louder as it advances and the distinct odor of moisture in the air.
Funny, is it not, how what we miss and what we remember can be so small and insignificant. Of course, it is the emotions and experiences that are attached to them that give weight to their worth.
I miss singing certain hymns. Now before you think I am getting on a “soap box” about contemporary worship styles, I am not. I love the fresh, new and expressive ways many within our younger generations glorify God. But nonetheless, I miss the way certain hymnists and musicians of the past expressed the awe and wonder they found in God.
Hymns like the Quaker John Whittier wrote:
I know not what the future hath
Of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
His mercy underlies.
Or Daniel W. Whittle’s conversion confession in a Confederate prison:
I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me he hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for his own.
But “I know whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”
This one you may not remember but it speaks volumes to me. Written by a Methodist minister, Fred Pratt Green, immediately following WWII.
When in our music, God is glorified,
And adoration leaves no room for pride,
It is as though the whole creation cried,
I miss these things. I am not sad or angry. Just thankful and blessed that they are part of my life’s collective. To walk in those memories brings great joy and happiness.
I miss these things and it is so good to remember.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.